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Canon S100 – A brief overview

I recently bought a Canon Powershot S100 as a compact camera, for situations where I don’t want to be lugging around my SLR and associated equipment.

The things that pushed me in the direction of the S100 were it’s image quality, compactness, and almost full manual control. As well as these, I also had plans to push the camera to its limits, experimenting with the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) and the S100s small size. The CHDK allows for functionality not included in the camera at retail, such as motion triggers (people have had great success at capturing lightning with this technique) and interval shooting (to create timelapse videos).

So, how am I getting on?

I love the size and portability of this camera. whereas the 7D is big and heavy and noticeable, this camera can fit in a pocket and go anywhere with me. The one thing I find myself lacking is the 400mm zoom I have with the 7D, but then, you can’t have everything.

I also have played around with the CHDK a little, whilst it was still in an alpha stage. Timelapse works well, and though I’ve yet to use the motion detection option other than to test it at home, I have a number of ideas that it could be useful for.

One of the biggest complaints users of the camera have is the battery life, especially when using the GPS. I bought a 3rd party battery, and when out all day surveying heathland, leave the GPS on with tracking (this way the GPS always has a lock, and I don’t need to wait when I take a picture), I can get through about 200-300 photos over 6 hours before needing to switch the battery. I think this is reasonable, especially when the batteries are quite small and light. My camera lives in a small Case4Life pack with space for the spare battery, which I find works out quite well.

I mentioned the lack of zoom, however at the other end of the spectrum, the camera has quite good macro capabilities, similar to my 7D+100mm macro:

Wood Ant (Formica rufa)

Of course, I do find the camera slower and more fiddly to operate than my 7D, but it’s early days and I’m still getting used to it. It’s no SLR replacement when an SLR is an option, but for everyday use I’m more than happy with the camera.